The other day, I was invited by a Japanese friend here in the dorms to a BBQ. Since I had never experienced one here, I was immediately interested. Even before the day of the BBQ, it became clear to me just how different a BBQ is here compared to the US. I think I can describe it in a sentence: Japanese BBQs are very strict.
The first difference that I came across that surprised me was that we had to make a reservation in advance here in Japan. In the reservation, we had to say how many people were going and make a payment in advance of about 3000 yen per person. This is very different from my experiences back at home. I’m so used to just taking a grill to a public park and starting a BBQ without having to reserve in advance or have everyone pay a fee.
When we got there, I noticed something else, there is so much order to the BBQ here. When we went to the park, we had to go to a specific small area of the park that was for the purpose of BBQ and check-in. We weren’t able to do it anywhere else. Everything was set up already. The number of seats matched the number of people in the reservation. It was so shocking to me. I am so used to just going to a park, picking a spot(as long as it is allowed), and setting up on my own. There is no one to make sure I checked in to a BBQ. There is no one there to police us on how to BBQ. You are free to do as you please(within reason of course) So it was most certainly a surprise.